False Allegations Are Becoming More Common
Domestic violence offenses are unique because they often involve the victim's word against the defendant. Eyewitnesses are less common, as these types of crimes are frequently perpetrated inside the home. And if the victim doesn't seek medical care for injuries, there might not even be any hard evidence to offer in court. Thus, false allegations of domestic violence are not uncommon. The privacy of the home coupled with the intimate relationship between the victim and abuser mean domestic violence charges can easily arise from a simple argument or a partner seeking revenge. This is complicated by the fact that a domestic violence conviction is severe and can ruin a person's life.
But despite the often questionable nature of domestic violence allegations, the State of California must treat every report as if it were true. Once the victim calls 911, law enforcement will become involved. Typically, this means law enforcement will arrive at the scene of the incident and arrest the alleged abuser. From that point, it is only a matter of filing a report before the district attorney's office has what it needs to file charges against the (sometimes innocent) abuser.
Unfortunately, false allegations of domestic violence are on the rise, meaning more and more Californians are facing criminal charges for crimes they did not commit. The increase in false allegations can be attributed, in part, to the following factors.
- Advances in Technology
New technology has not only made it easier to threaten and harass people; it has made it easier to catch instances of domestic violence, too. California recognizes acts such as sending threatening texts or making threatening statements on social media as domestic violence. In fact, physical violence is just one of many recognized types of domestic violence in California. Technological advances are putting people in contact with other people in more ways than we could have dreamed. But with this new technology come more ways of causing harm.
- Increased awareness
Domestic violence is a significant problem across the country. Decades of academic studies on domestic violence have influenced policies and laws, meaning the authorities are increasingly concerned with what happens inside the home. With that come more comprehensive laws on domestic violence. As research studies repeatedly demonstrate the link between domestic violence and victim fatalities, fewer law enforcement agencies are willing to take any risks. This means swift and certain punishment for anyone even accused of domestic violence. You are innocent until proven guilty, but when it comes to domestic violence cases, proving guilt can happen all too easily.
The public's awareness of certain domestic violence offenders getting lenient sentences is also contributing to false allegations of domestic violence. California criminal courts employ dedicated domestic violence prosecution units that protect the victim and aggressively prosecute the alleged abuser. So when domestic violence defendants get lenient sentences, it usually ends up in the media. This, in turn, encourages the courts to impose harsher punishments and alleged victims to make false claims to get back at the alleged abusers.
- More men are seeking custody in divorce cases
Another significant contributor to the rise in false allegations of domestic violence is the rise in joint custody arrangements. As more and more men seek custody in contested custody cases, it is not uncommon for the mother to make false allegations of domestic violence to gain the upper hand in the case.
As false allegations of domestic violence become more common, so will the public's awareness of this problem. But until changes are made to protect both parties in domestic violence cases, innocent people will face serious consequences. If you find yourself facing allegations of domestic violence, you should speak with a California domestic violence defense attorney right away. An experienced attorney who handles these types of cases will know what to do to maximize your advantages. When it is the victim's word against yours, you can't afford to take any chances.
Facing domestic violence charges can be overwhelming, but experienced Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you navigate the process of defending your rights and clearing your name. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you build a strategic defense to fight your charges. Attorney Martens has practiced criminal defense for over ten years and knows how to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.